Who is worthy of my commitment now? The dynamic nature of interns' workplace commitment

Nima Ali, Juani Swart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose: The paper aims to investigate the dynamics of individuals' multiple commitments in the internship context by answering two questions: How do interns' commitment to different stakeholders change over time? And what are the reasons behind these changes? 

Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative longitudinal study was conducted of a hundred and three interviews with twenty interns in three professional service firms in the UK. The data were gathered via semi-structured interviews that took place on five occasions during the whole internship. 

Findings: Individuals' decision to maintain or change their commitment depended on their motive to gain long-term benefits (future employment) or short-term benefits (completing an assignment). Therefore, they experienced different types of commitment dynamics, which were influenced by their intention to commit to the organization in the future. 

Practical implications: This offers significant implications for attracting and employing interns, which directly affects talent employment. It also contributes to the contemporary work context, as the rise of temporary and cross-boundary settings would increase the complexity and dynamics of commitment. 

Originality/value: Despite the predominant assumption that considers commitment as a stable bond, this research is one of the first to investigate the dynamics of multiple commitments. This contributes to the commitment theory by identifying the different types of commitment dynamics and the impact of individuals' intention to commit on the (in)stability of their commitment, which is absent from the existing literature.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalPersonnel Review
Early online date14 Jun 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Dynamics of commitment
  • Intention to commit
  • Internship
  • Targets of commitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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